Sunday, July 23, 2006

Good growing--for weeds!

After several consecutive weekends of garden absence due to travel, illness, and bad weather, it was overgrown with weeds, weeds, and still more weeds. Happily, today bore the perfect conditions for tackling these pests: rain in the morning to loosen roots and cool overcast weather in the afternoon to ease the gardener's labors. Three yard bags of crabgrass, yew clippings, and deadheaded flowers (note to self: next year stalk the shasta daisies to the height of four feet) later, the yard looks slightly more tidy. Next weekend, it's on to the animal pests--wasp nests under the shutters--and trimming foundation plantings.

One plant that's new to me this year is foxglove. Dreaming of a pastel shade garden last year, I planted several of the variety Digitalis purpurea "Apricot Beauty." After about a month, all had entirely disappeared. My horticulturally cultured sister-in-law, SW, observed that the yellow foxglove, Digitalis grandiflora, is hardier in our New England climate. This spring, I tucked three nursery plants into the new bed with happier results. The stand of pale flowers offers a graceful vertical element. And I love that all parts of this plant are poisonous--but, nevertheless, it's used to treat heart ailments. What does that say about the craziness of our existence?

Now, my challenge is to ensure that I have plants for next year. Figuring that the greatest success will be met by following the course of nature, I plan to direct sow seeds in the fall . . . and again in the spring . . . and then maybe head for the nursery. Trust, but verify.

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